Xmas trade better than expected for 50% of pubs

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

(Credit: Getty/ultramarinfoto)
(Credit: Getty/ultramarinfoto)

Related tags Finance Multi-site pub operators

Half (50%) of operators say trade was better than expected over the festive season, according to a recent snap poll by The Morning Advertiser.

This fits in with new research​ from the latest Barclays Consumer Spend ​report which revealed consumer spending at pubs, bars and clubs was up 7.9% in December, thanks to Christmas parties and gatherings.

Of 225 respondents to the snap poll,​ a quarter (25%) said trade was as expected, and a quarter (25%) said trade was worse than expected.

At the Unruly Pig in Bromeswell, Suffolk, trade was better than expected.

Brendan Padfield,​​ who operates the gastropub, said he’s sceptical of those who say they’ve had a “fantastic boom” as everyone in the industry is weathering tough times.

However, covers were up in December, as was average spend by head (12.7%) and gross overall sales were up by around 10%.

Padfield said: “I was mildly surprised. It was better than I was expecting because I was expecting a catastrophic drop.”

The operator predicts a bumpy road ahead for the next three months, so he adds that there is no time for complacency.

New Year’s Eve was the big occasion for the Jago, Dalston, east London. The live music venue hosted a party that finished at 6am and featured jazz, afro-dance bands and around five DJs playing everything from disco to house to punk.

But operator Kwame Otiende said when people knew the venue was open late, they also tended to come out late which was “not ideal”.

The event was pre-booked, and there was a big no show rate that was higher than other years. Of the 200 tickets sold, at least 40 people didn’t turn up.

The Sportsman​​ at Seasalter, Kent, was full in the runup to Christmas. “I wouldn’t say it’s the best we’ve had for a while but it wasn’t a disaster or quiet at all,” said chef patron Stephen Harris.

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